The bad news is, there isn’t one. There is currently no app that is able to weed out cheaters, losers, weirdos, fuckboys, and married dudes. Unfortunately, you have to do that yourself. It’s hard at first but thankfully it gets easier over time.
When I first started online dating apps didn’t exist yet. So I chose Plenty of Fish. It was in a word; overwhelming. I was flooded with messages from everyone and anyone. By the end of the first day I had received messages from five hundred men. FIVE HUNDRED MEN. Some of which were married, some of which were thrice my age, some of which just wanted a woman, they didn’t care who. I freaked out and deleted it a day later. It was too much and I was not prepared. Was I supposed to reply to everyone? I didn’t want to spend hours sending rejection emails but I felt like a jerk not responding at all. What was the etiquette? Were there rules I was supposed to follow? I found myself wishing two things; the first was that my matches were more compatible with me, the second was that there was a way I could only be matched with people I was interested in.
Not long after I made these two wishes, Tinder appeared, like a glorious beacon of light from the date-o-sphere. It was exactly what I had been looking for. An opportunity to see what was out there without having to reject dudes I wasn’t interested in. Plus, it took the awkwardness out of approaching guys who conversely might not be interested in me.
Tinder was pretty wholesome back then though. That is, I never received any dick pics. I spent weeks talking to some guys before meeting them. Sometimes it felt like having a random pen pal. Guys took a long time to work up to even asking me on a date. Now, it’s pretty much “Hi, do you wanna suck on my ding dong?” Or “Do you like anal?” And God forbid the answer is ‘no’, or I choose not to respond at all. Both of those options tend to earn me a one-way ticket to Vitriol Town.
After a while, I met someone IRL, so I gave up on online dating. When that ended and I decided to go back to online dating, a new platform; Bumble, existed. I don’t know if it’s the fact that I have the power, or that I get to make the first move or if it’s just that the quality of men and what they are looking for is higher on this platform but it’s the only one I have gotten any good dates out of so far (however marginal this may be). This could also be nothing to do with the app. It may have everything to do with me and the the fact that I am just getting better at noticing red flags.
For every app I have tried, I have a horror story to go with it. Men who actually call women “females”, in order to dehumanise and exclude them, men who don’t understand the concept of a natural progression when it comes to conversation, men who have a ridiculous idea of how a women should speak and “behave” as if it’s up to them and not in fact the woman herself, men who say they are gentlemen gut are actually the opposite, men who hate women, men who have threatened to rape me. Yes, RAPE ME. Hashtag WTF?
The bottom line is, garbage men exist on all platforms. There is no one app or site that is immune to their trashery and thus far there are no apps that contain a rating system. However, I hear that one is on its way. You can read more about Plum here.
Basically, if you aren’t discerning, if you ignore red flags, or if the man is very good at lying, you could definitely end up on a date with a douche regardless of where you met them or how high value you are.
The bottom line is, you just have to try each app out and choose which one works best for you. Choose more than one. You never know where your next partner is going to pop up. And don’t just stick to online dating. Try speed dating, talk to guys in Kmart, drop your handkerchief in the street (hey, you never know), order a cute guy at the bar a drink and have the bartender deliver it (this has worked for me several times – guys are always flattered when a woman buys them a drink and usually they make an effort to say hello), go to Bunnings and ask some random hottie for help. Guys love to help, especially with hardware.
Side note: if you’re in Australia, Bunnings is an untapped resource for single, beardy, attractive men who are good with their hands. Plus, Sausage Sizzle. Win/win.
But most importantly, don’t be disheartened by those dumb guys who speak to you inappropriately. Just delete and move on. You don’t owe them anything. The only person you owe is yourself.